For such a small and delicate creation, the macaron cookie sure does generate its share of confusion. Of course the one thing that most have in common is this: they’re really, really tasty! And we’re fortunate to live in a city such as Los Angeles that offers a vast array of options for macaron lovers to choose from.
But before we get to locations, let’s talk some history.
Although there are some conflicting stories of the origin of macarons, the most popular version is that the cookies were first honed in Italy back sometime around the Renaissance, then got imported into France when Catherine de’ Medici married Henry II in 1533.
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The first macarons were simple creations, made of the basics of almond powder, sugar and egg whites, but have evolved over time into multiple forms. One of these variations is the ‘macacroon’ cookie, which is a close cousin of the French style one we focus on in this article. The macaroon was purportedly developed in Europe by Jewish bakers who used coconut in their recipe and served these guys as a special goody around Passover.
However, the double-decker sandwich style that we know as a macaron today was created by Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée in the early 20th century. Here we find two delicious meringues joined in sweet artisan matrimony and then filled with a ganache. The cookies are characterized by being light in density, but never light in flavor.
Ok, so now that the history lesson is over and you’re all ready to eat, let’s answer the question: Where can you find the best macarons in Los Angeles?
List starts below (in no particular order).
This Beverly Hills bakery serves vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, caramel and other seasonal flavored macarons. Pastry chef Thomas Keller creates a memorable macaron and he may be even more memorable now by the Gingerbread House tribute a man named Oliver Bernardino created in his honor.
Collaboration often gives birth to great concepts and businesses. That’s exactly what happened in 2007 when owner Paulette Koumet and French pastry chef Christophe Michalak decided to collaborate. Since 2007 they’ve grown seven locations strong and serve 13 macarons. Try the Columbian coffee or the earl grey tea macaron for an extremely sweet treat.
The raspberry macaron made with a dark chocolate ganache and raspberry jam and the strawberry macaron infused with a strawberry buttercream sound just a tad decadent, which makes them all the more appetizing. You can get a selection of four for $10 or a selection of eight for $20 if you feel compelled to share.
The Little Next Door
If nothing else, the name of this tri-location restaurant and bar is nothing short of amazing, to me at least. The Little Next Door Brasserie and Wine Bar feature seasonal fare and wine from around the world, but macaron lovers probably know them for their $1.75 French macarons. Flavors include but are not limited to passion fruit, pistachio and hazelnut and truffle.
The Larder at Tavern
This Brentwood establishment has been named for having some of the best macarons around the city by many Los Angeles media. Taste the vanilla, lemon or pistachio and tell us what you think.
After Julie Do and Son Ly (hence, Do-Ly’s) opened their cafe some 5 years ago, they quickly established themselves as a local Long Beach gem serving up some of the best dessert bakery items in the area. French macarons are a speciality and are prepared fresh each morning with tons of flavors to choose from. Highly recommended if you’re in the DTLB area.
This family-owned restaurant has 30 matchless macaron flavors. All flavors are made in-house and great care is exercised to ensure the macarons are not too sweet or dense. Pastry Chef Keith Lee, who has since moved on to other ventures, developed Caffe Concerto’s macarons, but each new staff member adds his or her contribution to this dessert.
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Their offerings include classic flavors such as rose, salted caramel, pistachio, chocolate, and espresso, as well as more experimental ones such as black sesame, lemon yuzu, matcha, mango and ginseng.
La Provence Patisserie & Café
Los Angeles’ first French pastry restaurant to carry French macarons has been in operation for over 17 years. You’ll find their artisan bakery in Beverly Hills and American Airlines at LAX is lucky to have had the City Council in 2011 select La Provence to be the primary sweet treats provider in Terminal 4. This artisan bakery by Farshid Hakim offers 11 French Macarons, but the Patisserie suggests trying the Caramel Fleur de sel.
Razmig Tchoboian, a self-taught baker, perfected his macaron recipe before selling his confections online in 2010. Razmig has numerous locations across California where French macarons filled with buttercream or a rich ganache beautifully line display cases. These gluten-free, organically made cookies are sold in flavors such as champagne strawberry, lemon meringue pie, rose water and blueberry lavender.
Euro Pane Bakery
This bakery is an elusive little gem, let’s say it’s a special treat for anyone lucky enough to stumble upon it, because the macarons here are absolutely massive!. For a larger than usual macaron, try either of the Euro Pane Bakery locations on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. Bigger sometimes is better!
Are you a macaron lover with a favorite spot in Los Angeles? Let us know which you think is the best in the comments below!